Mar 22, 2017

Y Combinator's surge in foreign startups raises funding questions

Paul Miller / Flickr cc

Roughly 40% of startups participating in the latest session of Y Combinator, the famed Silicon Valley startup accelerator, came from overseas—more than a 10% gain over prior sessions. And of the 22 countries represented, several were emerging markets like Nigeria, Ghana, Poland and Russia.

While the added diversity made this week's YC Demo Day more interesting, it also raises questions about fundraising prospects.

The case against: Several early-stage investors at Demo Day told Axios that they're unlikely to invest in these overseas startups. The most commonly cited reasons were lack of expertise—or even any knowledge—of their home markets, and how difficult it would be to work closely with a company so far away. Some added that their funds have provisions limiting how much they can invest into international companies, if at all. And even if some of these companies do get funded, the expectation is that the dollar amounts and valuations will be artificially low.

The case for: Many of the companies based in emerging markets are building very fundamental and clearly needed products, such as Wi-Fi services or online payments tech—areas with obvious opportunities for investment returns regardless of geography, argues Michael Siebel, CEO of YC's accelerator program. Second, most of them already are operating profitably or at least generate significant revenue, something that is back en vogue with VCs. And if these companies ultimately raise less than their stateside peers, Siebel says that such investments can stretch further. For example, Paystack, a Nigerian payments company that participated last year, raised just over $1 million, giving it enough runway for four years.

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Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.